AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas’ population surpassed 30 million last year, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The agency published its July 1, 2022 population estimates Thursday.
But new data shows the growth is not being felt evenly across the state.
Of the 254 counties in Texas, 158 saw an increase in population since July 1, 2021, while 95 had a population decline. One county, San Saba, had no change.
Kaufman County, southeast of Dallas, grew faster than any other county in the state, with a population change of just under 9%. The county was the second-fastest growing in the entire country, behind only Whitman County, Washington, which grew by 10.1%.
Rockwall, Parker, Comal and Chambers counties all appeared in the top 10 fastest-growing counties in the country, each by more than 5%. Hays County also grew by more than 5%, well above the statewide growth rate of 1.59%.
Loving County, west of Midland/Odessa, had the largest percent decrease in population, declining by 10.5% from 57 to 51 total residents. The county remains the least populated in the country.
The populations of King and Borden counties, both near Lubbock, each dropped by more than 5%.
When looking at raw numbers, 12 counties added more than 10,000 residents between July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022. Harris County, home to the state’s largest city, Houston, leads the way, with more than 45,000 new residents. Collin County, north of Dallas, was right behind with more than 44,000 new residents.
All of the 10 counties that added the most new residents were in the Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio metro areas.
Two counties, meanwhile, lost more than 1,000 residents. The population of Jefferson County, home to Beaumont, dropped by 2,701, while Nueces County, home to Corpus Christi, lost more than 1,500 residents.
Migration vs. births
Among most of the state’s largest counties, migration accounted for the majority of the population increase. In Collin County, for example, 86% of the increase was due to people moving into the county from elsewhere, while just 14% was from natural change, i.e. births in the county.
There are some noticeable exceptions though. Both Dallas and El Paso counties saw a net decrease in migration, meaning more people moved out than in. Both counties saw overall population increases thanks to the number of births.
Counties in the KXAN viewing area
The 15 counties in the KXAN viewing area added more than 67,000 new residents between July 2021 and July 2022, according to the new estimates.
Hays County is the fastest-growing county in the area, with a population increase of 5.1%. Both Blanco and Williamson counties grew by more than 4%. Travis County’s population growth was slower, at 1.4%.
San Saba County is the only local county not to see an increase in population, with the number of residents there remaining unchanged.
When it comes to the actual number of residents, Williamson County added almost 27,000, accounting for 40% of all growth in the area. Travis County added almost 18,000 residents, while Hays County grew by more than 13,000.
Inward migration continues to drive much of the population growth in the Austin metro area, which officially includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.
In Bastrop County, 91% of all population growth was due to people moving into the county from elsewhere. In Travis County, the increase was much more evenly split, with 53% coming from migration and 47% from natural change within the county.
In the metro as a whole, 77% of the population increase came from migration.
Texas county rankings
Harris County is the largest in the state, accounting for 15.9% of Texas’ population, down slightly from 16.2% in the 2020 Census. Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis counties comprise the rest of the top five largest counties.
Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston, jumped two spots compared to 2021, becoming the eighth-largest county in the state. It overtook Hidalgo and El Paso counties in the process.
Hudspeth County, east of El Paso, jumped the most spots, up from 217th to 212th. The county added 143 new residents, an increase of more than 4%.
Meanwhile, DeWitt and Hemphill counties both dropped four spots. DeWitt is now the 124th-largest county in Texas, while Hemphill is the 218th-largest.
Loving County remains the smallest county in Texas, and the country, with just 51 residents, down from 63 in the 2020 Census.
U.S. state populations
The national population in July 2022 was estimated at 336,509,346, an increase of more than 1.2 million over 2021. Nationwide, the population grew by 0.36%.
Texas joined California as the only two states with more than 30 million residents. The Lone Star State was home to an estimated 30,029,572 people as of July 1, 2022.
In total, 32 states and the District of Columbia saw an increase in population, while 18 states and Puerto Rico saw a decline in population.
When looking at percentage change, Texas is the fourth-fastest-growing state, with a population increase of 1.6% between 2021 and 2022.
Florida’s population grew by 1.9%, while Idaho and South Carolina saw population increases of 1.8% and 1.7% respectively.
Puerto Rico’s population declined the most — a 1.3% drop between 2021 and 2022. New York, Illinois and Louisiana all had population decreases of 0.8% or more.